Toronto, Ontario – Canadian vehicle sales in May were up slightly from the same month last year to 154,285 from 154,018, a gain of 0.2%*.  Vehicle sales have increased every month this year, but in a sign that new vehicle sales might be slowing, May was the smallest sales increase so far this year. Year to date, overall vehicle sales are up 8.4% to 631,195.

Light trucks (SUVs, pickups, minivans) continue to be more popular than passenger cars.  In May, light truck sales increased 12.8%, while passenger car sales slid 10.6%.  Year to date, light truck sales have increased 18.9% while car sales are down 1.5% overall.  

Interestingly, domestic brands did much better than import brands in May.  Domestic vehicle sales were up 8.9% in May mostly because of a surprising performance by Chrysler (+53.5%) and Ford (+19.4%) while GM slid (-17.6%).   However, GM’s figures include a steep drop in sales at Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer, three brands that it is phasing out.  Sales of its remaining brands, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac increased 15.4% for the month.

In May, import brands’ sales slid 6.5% overall with disappointing performances from Honda (-28.2%), Toyota (-16.6%), Nissan (-2.4%), BMW (-11.8%) and Suzuki (-44.2%).  However, sparkling sales from Subaru (+25.6%), Hyundai (+12.6%), Kia (+13.9%), Volkswagen (+9.0%), Mercedes-Benz (+22.2%), and Audi (+13.4%) helped lift import sales.

In the first five months of 2010, domestic brands share of the market increased slightly to 45.2% from 44.5%.

*Source: DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc. (DAC), Association of International Automobile Manufacturers of Canada (AIAMC), Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association (CVMA)

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